Healthy dog is euthanized so it can be buried with dead owner

Healthy dog is euthanized so it can be buried with dead owner

An otherwise healthy dog was euthanised for one reason and one reason only: to accompany her newly dead owner to the afterlife, as per the request of her last will and testament.

Emma was a Shih Tzu mix that Chesterfield County Animal Services described as a well-bred, pampered and much-loved pup, and was taken into animal services back on March 8. But when her owner, a woman from Richmond in Virginia, passed away, there was a stipulation in her will that said the dog was to follow her to the grave.

Shih Tzu Credit: Getty

Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield Animal Services, said they tried to plead with the dead woman's estate to try and let the dog live, but to no avail.

"We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home," said Jones, speaking to WBBT NBC, but, "ultimately, they came back in on March 22 and redeemed the dog."

Emma was taken to a local vet's office where she was euthanised, before her body went to a pet cremation centre in Richmond. Her ashes were then placed in an urn, and returned to an authorised representative of the dead woman's state, presumably so the dog could be buried with her owner.

The legality of the act is also in doubt. Larry Spiaggi, president of the Virginia Funeral Director’s Association, says that it's illegal to put animal remains in a casket, while Virginia law states that with few exceptions, it's also illegal to bury human and animal remains in the same cemetery.

"It’s not legal to put a dog’s cremated remains - or any animal - in a casket and bury them," Spiaggi began, before adding:" I am licensed by the state of Virginia, so I have a license on the line with the Health Professionals Board. So I can NOT [emphasis theirs] do it."

The euthanising of Emma has caused plenty of fury on social media, with many posters describing the incident as "heartless" and inhumane, as well as branding the owner of the dog as "selfish".